Sunday, December 02, 2012

Simple squared...

.. very often equals stupid. Especially when mathematical modelers are let loose with their 'simple estimates' and 'rough assumptions', which are then tortured into some very dubious 'facts'.

 We saw it with the ISG, who pumped 2 parts cattle, one part badger into their model and then believed their own guff 'tenatative predictions' that cattle to cattle transmission of bTB was so high. (7:24 - ISG Final Report)

But now Cambridge University have geared up their models to assume a hidden reservoir of bTB missed by the skin test. But only in GB it seems?
The skin test is the primary tool for TB eradication, world wide, and yet no other country seems to have a problem using it. And GB abattoirs are not reporting thousands of cattle turning up with lesions.
 Last year, just 1013 out of a kill of several million.

So we refer back to Owen Paterson's original Parliamentary Questions on this matter, tabled in 2003/ 04.
8 Dec 2003 Col 218W (141968) Mr. Paterson: To ask how long the current Tb skin test has been in use? Mr. Bradshaw: The tuberculin skin test has been compulsory since 1950. This is the test prescribed by the OIE (Office of International Epizootics) for international trade, as well as under EU directive 64/432/EEC.
30th Jan 2004 Col 540W (150492) Mr. Paterson: How many countries use the current skin test and how many have reported problems with it? Mr. Bradshaw: All countries that have either eradicated or have programmes to control bovine tb use one or more forms of the current skin test.
.. and just as a reminder re GB's 'scientist's' current rush for more work BCG vaccination:
25th March 2004 col 989W ( 159061) Mr. Paterson: What assessment has been made of the need for a) vaccination of i) cattle and ii) badgers and b) other measures to control the incidence of Tb in cattle herds? Mr. Bradshaw: Evidence from other countries shows that in the absence of a significant wildlife reservoir, cattle controls based on regular testing and slaughter, inspection at slaughterhouses and movement restrictions can be effective at controlling bovine tb without vaccination.
Owen Paterson teased all these points out of reluctant Minister, and they are archived in our 2004 postings.  They include this gem concerning the success of the Thornbury badger clearance:
"No confirmed cases of tuberculosis in cattle in the area were disclosed by the tuberculin test the the ten year period following the cessation of gassing" [150573]
So not 20 years of buggering about trying to cull out infected badgers in ones and twos, very occasionally? (Or even taking pot shots at the scent markers ?) So we asked why should there have been this astonishingly quick result. Was anything else done? Biosecurity? Extra cattle measures? Pre movement testing? No cattle movements at all? Licenses? Shrink wrapped grass, raised troughs and cattle in hermetically sealed boxes?
 The answer:
" The fundamental difference between the Thornbury area and other areas [] where bovine tuberculosis was a problem, was the systematic removal of badgers from the Thornbury area. No other species was similarly removed. No other contemporaneous change was identified that could have accounted for the reduction in TB incidence within the area" [157949]
So as all this taxpayer funded 'research' spills into the press, hang on to those basic facts. Everything else is smoke and mirrors. And sometimes, simple squared really does equal stupid. .

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